“More appropriately titled 'A Book of Shapes for People Sick of Shape Books.'”
Shapes with a solid color, wood-grain texture are featured in the beginning of this book with simple accompanying text (”This is a circle,” or “This is a triangle”), and then more sporadically throughout as surprising interruptions sneak in, creating a quirky and unique departure from your average book about shapes. After three shapes, the title of this book is proven to be misleading, as the next page features “an emu pushing a pancake wagon down a hill.” A few more shapes are shared before another interjection of “a porpoise reading a book of knock-knock jokes to three silly sea turtles.” After a few more repetitions of shapes and a surprise, the last page shows a compilation of every illustration and shape from the book—possibly a commentary on how everything in life is made up of shapes, but possibly just another stroke of randomness. Kraegel sneaks in a sly sense of humor with unanticipated inclusions of silly pages amidst what would be a basic, and probably boring, book of shapes. For readers actually seeking a book about shapes, this title may disappoint, but it otherwise provides a breath of fresh air and unexpected chuckles (though laughs are dependent on a certain type of humor).
The creator of King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson and Green Pants switches gears with a slyly silly introduction to shapes—just watch out for the emus!First comes the circle. Then the square and the triangle. Then the . . . emu pushing a pancake wagon down a hill? What begins as a concept book about everyone’s geometric favorites soon defies expectations with a series of funny and imaginative twists. Award-winning author-illustrator Kenneth Kraegel pairs a deadpan text with simple wood-grained shapes, interspersed with vibrant illustrations of animals engaged in hilariously absurd pastimes. Each page turn builds on the delicious anticipation the contrast creates to make this a unique and rollicking story-time hit.
Quirky and very fun, though I’m not sure if my young readers understood the punchline. The illustrations on the final pages were terrific—I especially loved the depiction of the water.
This book “of shapes” has random interruptions that are quite bizarre and, depending on your humor, hilarious. The first random interjection made me laugh out loud. The second was still funny, as was the third, though I thought pointing out that the pineapple shouldn’t be included was a little necessary and dampened the humor a tad. Still very fun, though I think this might cater to more particular tastes—while reading I can think of a few friends who’d love this and a few who wouldn’t care for it.
Kenneth Kraegel is a self-taught illustrator and the creator of the picture books Green Pants, The Song of Delphine, and King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson, which was a New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year. Kenneth Kraegel lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.